Escape From The Cape

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This blog entry about the events of Saturday, March 27, 2004 was originally posted on March 28, 2004.

DAY 161:  “Erik, you’re still here?” Joan from housekeeping asked me.  She had bid me farewell four days before during her last shift at The Backpack since she expected me to be gone by next shift.

“Yeah, I’m still here.  But I’m leaving right now.”

David from Manchester walked in on me in the kitchen with a smug stare which said, “Ha ha, you’re still here.” 

“I’m finally leaving this time,” I told him.

“Ready to go?” Eve the Frenchie at the tour desk asked me.

“No, I think I’m going to hang out another week,” I joked with her before having her call me a taxi.

IT COULDN’T HAVE BEEN A MORE PERFECT DAY to leave Cape Town.  Unlike the day before — the perfect day for abseiling down Table Mountain — it was cold and cloudy with a prediction of rain.  Table Mountain was covered in a thick fog.  I supposed it was poetic justice:  I left Cape Town just the way I found it.

My ticket out of Cape Town was stolen but that was okay because I still had a reference number.  That reference number got me on the Intercape bus — even if my name on the roster was misspelled “E. Qrinidad” — bound for Windhoek (pronounced vindhook), capital city of Namibia, twenty and a half hours away by road north of Cape Town.  I had received mixed reviews of the Intercape bus experience.  Some said the ride was bumpy with no chance of sleep; others said it was a comfortable ride.  Either way, it was my cheapest option to get to my destination — plus it covered the cost of an accommodation since it rode through the night.


THE BUS RIDE WASN’T TOO THRILLING nor as bumpy as some predicted; it was merely a twenty and a half hour ride in a luxury double-decker (picture above) with reclining seats (but with no leg room) and video screenings (which blacked out every time the tracking was bad).  The conductor Justin was a friendly guy on the P.A. system who served us tea and coffee and played Bean and The Legend of Bagger Vance on the monitors.  (I figured the latter movie was played for all the South African Charlize Theron fans since she was on about every magazine cover in the newsstands since her Best Lead Actress Oscar.) The bus stopped in small towns en route to pick up scheduled passengers and let the current passengers stretch their legs and buy snacks, meat pies and samoosas (deep fried, triangle-shaped meat and vegetable dumplings) from gas station shops.  In between stops and video screenings I either slept, had small talk with my Namibian row-mate Dave or read Artemis Fowl trilogy author Eoin Colfer’s latest book The Wish List, which I started and finished before I checked into my Windhoek hostel.

The border crossing was timely — we hit South Africa’s exit post at exactly 8:00 and Namibia’s entrance at 9:00 — but not too exciting.  The only thing worth mentioning was putting up with the non-stop chatter at the border and on the bus ride from the South African and Namibian college students who read poetry out loud and spent hours trying to figure out the name of “that movie with Antonio Banderas and Angelina Jolie in it.”  (The answer was Original Sin, which I never really saw except for its awesome unrated sex scene.)

We drove through the Namibian and northwestern South African desert hills all day and all night, and by 6:30 a.m. the next morning we arrived in Windhoek in some big parking lot in the center of town where all the buses, car pick-ups and taxis drivers looking for early morning fares convened.  The hostel I made a reservation at, Chameleon Backpackers, already had a transport waiting for me and three others, which took us to our new accommodations.

Exciting day, yes — about as exciting as watching a baseball game sober, I know.  But at least I finally got the hell out of Cape Town before I started to lose my mind.  Man, nothing could have been more exciting that day than that.






Next entry: Influencing Windhoek

Previous entry: The Biggest Let Down in Cape Town




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Comments for “Escape From The Cape”

  • MARKYT / ALICE:  “The Wish List” is a good read if you liked “Artemis Fowl.”

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/28  at  02:16 PM


  • Could it really be that I am first (well besides Erik)

    How exciting!!!!

    Very happy to hear that you are outta the Cape! Its about time!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/28  at  03:25 PM


  • glad to hear you finally had a good day! looking forward to reading much more! N smile

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/28  at  03:49 PM


  • glad to hear you finally had a good day! looking forward to reading many more! N smile

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/28  at  03:50 PM


  • wow…that was almost as exciting as driving through delaware…..

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/28  at  04:05 PM


  • hey, thanks. i didn’t even realize the wish list was out already. cooool. now i have to go pick it up, though i still have all my dan brown books to read. and i have to re-read my harry potter books in time for movie 3 in june. the new trailer looks awesome. you should check it out when you get a chance at harrypotter.com. =)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/28  at  05:14 PM


  • Well I too am glad you are out of Cape town.
    Looks like I will be in France next month. No chance you will be there I don’t think.
    I totally get how 5 days in any country is enough then its time to move on. Well keep going you’ve still got another year of travelling wih a hell of a lot more experiences. WOW!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/28  at  06:32 PM


  • I’m glad you made it out Erik… It’s been a crazy week… Here’s to new city with new experiences (hopefully, none involving knives)!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/29  at  02:18 AM


  • Hey, I stay away from the blog for a while—- too much work and other things—that included training for a trek and an injury 8-( and you get mugged!!! Glad you are back in high spirits, happy travelling.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/29  at  05:32 AM


  • Thank god you’re finally out of that heck-hole.

    That Angelina movie you mentioned looks exceptionally crappy. Did I tell you I saw her when I was in Vegas last month? She’s actually better looking in person.

    ALICE- you’re re-reading harry potter? How many times is this for you now? I should talk - I’ve been re-reading my Hellboy and Punisher comics over the past week

    Posted by dunlavey  on  03/29  at  06:52 AM


  • DUSTY:  Hey there…  glad you’re still keeping up… I hope that new job of yours isn’t worse than the previous!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/29  at  06:56 AM


  • NEVEN:  Hey there!  France next month?  Sorry, I’ll still be in Africa at that time.  Are you still joining “The Trinidad Show” in Cairo this June?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/29  at  06:57 AM


  • ryan d. - i only read books 1-4 four times each. and book 5 two times. i still need to read book 5 again. but since hp movie 3 is coming out in june, i should at least read book 3 again. yes, i know. i am obsessed. but i do have a life, i swear. =)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/29  at  10:57 AM


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This blog post is one of over 500 travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World (Or Until Money Runs Out, Whichever Comes First)," originally hosted by BootsnAll.com. It chronicled a trip around the world from October 2003 to March 2005, which encompassed travel through thirty-seven countries in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. It was this blog that "started it all," where Erik evolved and honed his style of travel blogging — it starts to come into focus around the time he arrives in Africa.

Praised and recommended by USA Today, RickSteves.com, and readers of BootsnAll and Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree, The Global Trip blog was selected by the editors of PC Magazine for the "Top 100 Sites You Didn't Know You Couldn't Live Without" (in the travel category) in 2005.


Next entry:
Influencing Windhoek

Previous entry:
The Biggest Let Down in Cape Town




THE GLOBAL TRIP GLOSSARY

Confused at some of the jargon that's developed with this blog and its readers over the years? Here's what they mean:

BFFN: acronym for "Best Friend For Now"; a friend made on the road, who will share travel experiences for the time being, only to part ways and lose touch with

The Big Trip: the original sixteen month around-the-world trip that started it all, spanning 37 countries in 5 continents over 503 days (October 2003–March 2005)

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The Trinidad Show: a nickname of The Global Trip blog, used particularly by travelers that have been written about, who are self-aware that they have become "characters" in a long-running story — like characters in the Jim Carrey movie, The Truman Show.

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1981ers: people born after 1981. Originally, this was to designate groups of young backpackers fresh out of school, many of which were loud, boorish and/or annoying. However, time has passed and 1981ers have matured and have been quite pleasant to travel with. The term still refers to young annoying backpackers, regardless of year — I guess you could call them "1991ers" in 2013 — young, entitled millennials on the road these days, essentially.




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